Columbia researchers created new way to grow human hair follicles with the help of 3D-printed molds. This creation opens unlimited source of hair follicles for potential hair restoration surgical methods.
For creating these ‘hair farms’, the team first made a unique plastic mold with the help of 3D-printers. The plastic molds were designed to replicate a natural micro-environment stimulating hair follicle growth via tiny extensions only half a millimeter wide.
“Previous fabrication techniques have been unable to create such thin projections, so this work was greatly facilitated by innovations in 3D printing high technology,” said Erbil Abaci.
Researchers used a molecule designed to inhibit a pathway known as JAK-STAT. This pathway keeps hair stem cells inactive, and the newly developed inhibitors can reawaken this sleeping pathway, starting hair follicle growth.
The 3D printed is said to grow the hair follicles at a rate that would eventually permit an unlimited supply of follicles without requiring hair grafts from donors.
In future, more work is required to optimize and commercialize the 3D printed baldness process before it available for clinical use. The team is certain that this method will help thickening hair, and help those looking forward to hair restoration surgery.